Texas Execution Broke International Law, Says U.N. Official

A Mexican citizen executed on Thursday was not offered help from his consulate

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U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay accused the United States of breaking international law when Texas executed Mexican citizen Humberto Leal Garcia Jr. Thursday night. The execution sparked controversy after the International Court of Justice in the Hague determined in 2004 that the U.S. had violated the Vienna Convention when officials failed to tell foreign inmates about their right to visit their consular officials. But the U.S. Supreme Court voted yesterday that Texas could go ahead with the execution, even over the objection of President Barack Obama. Pillay said today the execution "raises particular legal concerns" about the fairness of the proceedings against Leal.

Pillay said Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles each failed to exercise consular and fair-trial obligations — spelled out under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and an International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights — that could have prevented the U.S. from breaching its obligations under international law.

Pillay cited the 2004 international court ruling "saying the U.S. must review and reconsider the cases of 51 Mexican nationals sentenced to death, including Leal's--But, she said, that never happened." Leal had been found guilty and sentenced to death for the 1994 rape and murder of a teenager.

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